2015 APA Scholarship Recipient Dylan Kuchan

by Andrew Vogeney


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It's crazy to think it was nearly 11 years ago that I earned my pilot's license, just a few weeks before graduating high school back in New York. I was so fortunate to have attended a half-day program in high school that funded a great deal of my training. So when Stefanie and Jim asked me to join the Arizona Pilot's Association Scholarship Committee, it was only after a brief hesitation that I said yes. My goal - aside from getting back into aviation myself after a long hiatus - is to do whatever I can to encourage younger pilots to become and stay active in aviation, so it was a no-brainer.

A few days before presenting our 2016 scholarships we received an email from Dylan Kuchan, a recipient of last year's scholarship. He sent along photos from his solo - a moment I bet none of us have forgotten. Below is a Q&A with Dylan, a deserving young pilot who has benefited from our scholarship. If you're as proud as I am to be helping these kids fulfill their aviation dreams, consider making a donation to our scholarship fund!

scholarships 3Andrew: Tell me about your first solo?

Dylan: My first solo was one of the most exhilarating moments of my entire life. I thought that I’d be nervous going up without the safety net that was my instructor, but once I pushed that throttle all the way to maximum power and took the airplane off by myself, I felt a huge surge of confidence and satisfaction. That, to me, was the most defining moment of my training thus far; that flight was such a huge success that I felt even more motivated and compelled to keep working harder, with the intent of hopefully accomplishing more in the future.

Andrew: What are your aviation dreams and aspirations?

scholarships 4Dylan: I intend to be an international airline pilot. The entire reason I want to fly is because of my undying passion to travel: all my childhood I’ve traveled around the nation and parts of the world with my family, and seeing new cultures and experiencing new places was something that I enjoyed strongly. Considering that my dad is an engineer for Boeing here in Mesa, I’ve always been very interested in aircraft and flight; so one day, I hope to revive a salary by doing the activity I find most satisfying and invigorating while at the same time gaining new experiences from all around the globe.


Andrew: How has the APA scholarship helped you?

Dylan: This scholarship has been a tremendous help to kick-starting my aviation career. When I first learned about how much it costs to be a pilot, I had a miniature heart-attack; even though I was confident my parents would be one hundred percent happy with supporting me financially to reach my dream career, I still felt sorry for putting such a huge burden on their wallets just so I can have fun flying planes and living the dream. Now, not only has this paid for a quarter of my private pilot’s license, but it also gave me confidence and hope towards managing the rest of my flight training, and helped relieve that tense consideration I had towards my parents. I am unimaginably appreciative towards this amazing opportunity that I received, and I put every dime of it towards my training with the hopes that I will not only become the best aviator I can be, but also towards becoming a contributing member to the aviation community one day as well.

scholarships 5Andrew: What phase of your flight training are you in now?

Dylan: Right now I am about complete with my flight training. I should be doing my solo cross-country in about a week or two, and then finishing up the final three lessons before doing my check ride and finishing the course by around the middle of May. I am very satisfied with the work I have put forward towards this goal, and have enjoyed every minute spent while at the controls of an airplane. I would not be in the excellent position I am now if it were not for the amazing help that I have received from the Arizona Pilot’s Association one year ago.


April’s APA Happy Hour at Harold’s!

by Mary James & Susan Wearly


Our Spring Social at Harold’s Corral in Cave Creek on Thursday, April 28th was loaded with fun, food, and lots of stories! We hosted sixty-eight pilots, spouses, aviation enthusiasts, and honored military people. Guests came from all over the Valley and even from Tucson. It was wonderful to see old friends chatting and new friendships forming. Tables were set with red, white, and blue flowers, toy and wind-up airplanes, flags, and more. APA President, Tommy Thomason, welcomed everyone and helped announce the winners of the Question Board Raffle. Two questions were posed and Question #1 had 6 correct answers. Tommy drew from these 6 and congratulations went out to Tim Greer for correctly answering the question of who founded the Arizona Air National Guard – Barry Goldwater. Tim and his wife Lynell took home a liter and a half of Maker’s Mark Bourbon as their prize. Question #2 had 3 correct answers and kudos to Robin Gerblick for her winning answer to the question of who owns the Gray Ghost – Tommy Thomason. Robin and her husband Jim walked away with a fifth of Glenfiddich Scotch. Way to go, Tim and Robin! The party went on well past our 7 pm ending time! It was a great way to welcome in the Double Circle Ranch Fly-In scheduled for April 29-30.

Organizers Susan Wearly and Mary James wish to thank Tommy and all of the APA staff for allowing them to run with their party planning and for helping. $140 was raised toward our Scholarship Program. We had a great showing of just how impressive the APA is as a volunteer organization.

Watch for news of a Fall social later this summer – this could be habit forming!!


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